When the Lion Feeds

When the Lion Feeds

by Wilbur Smith

The first part of the book deals with his childhood and youth and his longing to become a successful farmer and hard-hitting fighter like his father.The tough life of cattle-farming is brusquely interrupted by the Zulu Wars, when Sean and his brother see fighting for the first time.

Wilbur Smith vividly recreates the excitement of the war for the young men-their hope of winning their own cattle, the horror of the massacre at Isandhlwana, the heroism of the defence at Rorkes Drift.'Witwatersrand' is the name of the second part of this book and it tells the story of Sean's fabulous success in the gold rush and his rich life with Duff Charleywood and the beautiful Candy in the new town of Johannesburg, where huge fortunes were made and lost in a morning's dealing on the Exchange.The atmosphere of this feverish, violent time is brilliantly drawn: the heavy drinking, the elaborate houses, the ruth abandonment of the failure.

Sean finds himself alone once more...Filled with action scenes in war and the early heady days of the gold rush, and adventure among the vast game herds of the African wilderness, this novel is dominated by the towering compelling personality of Sean, whose life story is continued in The Sound of Thunder and A Sparrow Falls.Reviews * 'Plenty of incident and colour' The Observer, 1966 * 'Pride of place goes to When the Lion Feeds because it is bigger, wider and more full of plot than all the others put together ...' The Daily Telegraph, 1966.

* 'Wilbur Smith has built up his wide-screen adventure story with energy and shrewdness.' Sunday Times, 1966 * 'Mr. Smith is a natural story-teller who moves confidently and often splendidly in his period and sustains a flow of convincing incident without repeating his excitement.' The Scotsman.

  • Series: Courtney
  • Language: English
  • Category: Historical
  • Rating: 4.18
  • Pages: 544
  • Publish Date: October 3rd 2006 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
  • Isbn10: 0312940661
  • Isbn13: 9780312940669

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The second section of the book changes track and covers the development of Johannesburg, the gold rush and life on the stock exchange. The final section explores life in the wilderness, and elephant hunting features a lot.

I have been reading the Courtney series out of sequence. A good portion is dedicated to Sean's adventures in the Witwatersrand region of South Africa.

I picked this book to fulfill my challenge requirement. 2017 Reading Challenge:takes place in the wilderness

The tough life of cattle-farming is brusquely interrupted by the Zulu Wars, when Sean and his brother see fighting for the first time. 'Witwatersrand' is the name of the second part of this book and it tells the story of Sean's fabulous success in the gold rush and his rich life with Duff Charleywood and the beautiful Candy in the new town of Johannesburg, where huge fortunes were made and lost in a morning's dealing on the Exchange.

When the Lion Feeds is something I needed at the time (and what do you know, this is exactly how I started my review for Archer's Kane and Abel), and that is simply a good story. You know, just a good story as if someone were to stop you on the street and tell you what happened. Smith did pleasantly surprise me a few times with his characters, though.

The world has become a lot more politically correct over the last 53 years and whilst you may not want to be influenced by it , like or not, you are. Whilst reading I had to keep reminding myself that this all takes place 150 years ago and not be too judgemental. Sean's Zulu servant treated like loved gun dogs.

When the Courtney brothers accompany their father into a battle with one of the African tribes, Garrick and Sean fight for their country, the former the only one to return. Garrick disappears into the bottle and is left out of the narrative, permitting Sean to tackle new and exciting challenges on which Smith takes the reader. What is great about this series is that it is set in Africa, an area with which I have little knowledge. The curious reader may wonder what happens to Garrick, who will hopefully appear in future novels to flesh out his role and the reason Smith used him in the early chapters of the book. Kudos, Mr. Smith for this wonderful beginning to an exciting series I will surely devour over the next few months.

Reading this Wilbur Smith novel, three decades after I read the last one, The Dark of the Sun, I quickly realized how far I have strayed from reading popular fiction: like hero Sean Courtney, once you leave home, you can never come back. Smith leaves the book well poised for a sequel, and for many more featuring the Courtney family. Part three of the book is the best section as it portrays a deeper character investment, as if Smith is maturing in his craft just as Sean is maturing with his many losses. This is a good adventure story and a great debut novel for Smith at the time.

In the first part I had a hard time at first with the main character (Sean...he was a real turd lol) but once the story got going and other characters were introduced I forgot all about the first part of the book and really enjoyed the adventure.There were some serious ups and downs...I even cried at one point.

His other books include Those in Peril, River God, Warlock, The Seventh Scroll, and The Sunbird.